On-line Book
Book Cover
Cover Page



National Park System





Mount Rainier

Crater Lake


Wind Cave

Mesa Verde


Rocky Mountain


Lassen Volcanic

Mount McKinley

Grand Canyon



Hot Springs

Bryce Canyon

Grand Teton

Carlsbad Caverns

Great Smoky Mountains


Mammoth Cave


Isle Royale

Kings Canyon

Former Parks

Historical Parks

Military Parks

Glimpses of Our
National Parks

clip art XIX clip art



Special Characteristic: Medicinal Hot Springs

Hot Springs National Park
Bathhouse Row—Hot Springs National Park

AS DIFFERENT, almost, as possible from the great wilderness national parks, but in its own particular way as extraordinary as any of them, the Hot Springs National Park in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas must be accorded a distinguished place among American resorts of national character and ownership.

In 1832 Hot Springs was set aside as a Government reservation by act of Congress. In its earlier conception, while providing for social use of lands that pointed the way to broader development, Hot Springs could not be considered a national park. The sole purpose of its establishment as a national reservation was the alleviation of human ills through the use of the waters believed to possess medicinal value, making them available to all and preventing their commercial exploitation. In 1921 Congress gave it national-park status.

The country is one of much beauty. Hot Springs Mountain, from whose sides flow the cleansing waters, is about 50 miles west by south from Little Rock. Here, in 1807, began the settlement which has developed into the city of Hot Springs. It is a resort city, made wealthy from the many thousands of visitors seeking health from the adjacent Government springs and pleasure in the high and beautiful neighboring country with its excellent drives and woodland paths, its mountain and river views, its social gayeties, and its exceptional golf.

Adjoining the borders of the city at the mountain's foot lies the park, a tract of 1,006 acres enclosing all the 47 hot springs. Nine bathhouses are on the Federal area and nine in the city, all under Government regulation including the Leo N. Levi Hospital which operates a bathhouse subject to provisions of an act of Congress. In the city are many hotels and boarding houses with a wide range of rates to meet all pocketbooks. The park contains, also, an Army and Navy hospital, a Public Health Service clinic and a free bathhouse operated by the Federal Government for indigent persons.

The hot springs were probably visited in 1541 by De Soto, who traveled this region extensively in that year and died in 1542 less than 100 miles away. Tradition has it that the medicinal properties of the hot springs were known to the Indians long before the Spanish invasion. It is said that Indian tribes warred for their possession, but that finally a truce was made which enabled all tribes to use their waters.


Last Modified: Fri, Sep 1 2000 07:08:48 pm PDT

National Park Service's ParkNet Home